Vol. 11, No. 4
On The Compatibility of Connectionism and Cognitive Linguistics
Department of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego
Is PDP Connectionism compatible with Cognitive Linguistics? It is unfortunate that this question has not received the attention it deserves, since at stake is the very possibility of a unified "West Coast Cognitive Science" approach to language. Part I of this paper argues that a systematic approach to the question of compatibility must involve an enumeration and analysis of the general principles used by each research program in their linguistic explanations. This approach is carried out in Parts II and III, and the conclusion is that the explanatory principles of PDP Connectionism are fundamentally data-driven, whereas those of Cognitive Linguistics rely essentially on structure that the mind contributes to language use. Part IV presents several computational models of metaphor and analogy as case studies of the practical difficulties involved in reconciling these two frameworks. Finally, Part V examines the philosophical foundations of their respective explanatory strategies in order to get a clearer view of the theoretical obstacles to a unified account.